Are people naturally inclined to pay tax?

An interesting question came up over lunch with some friends: are people naturally inclined to pay tax?

The question arose in my mind after hearing about someone who came into a good wadge of cash – around £20,000 – and asked a friend if they knew of any way to invest it to avoid paying tax.

This anecdote is on the back of others I know who have taken on lodgers in their house and simply pocketed the cash without telling Revenue & Customs.

And, of course, there are a variety of stories and policy issues swirling around at the moment precisely on the question of what taxes should people incur and the extent to which people arrange their finances to avoid paying tax (think inheritance tax and Lord Ashcroft).

I thus wonder if the opprobrium that has been brought upon Lord Ashcroft from a tax point of view is slightly misplaced, in the sense that, given the opportunity, people may naturally be inclined to behave in exactly the same way he has?


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

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